20 January – 18 February 2018
David Austen’s solo presentation, The Drowned, is the inaugural exhibition at Matt’s Gallery’s new space at Ron Henocq Fine Art, 92 Webster Road, Bermondsey. Austen’s work will be the first to occupy a 3 x 3 x 3 metre cubic gallery space specially designed for the site. Matt’s Gallery will be in residence at the studio throughout 2018 and will relocate their office operations to a newly designed workspace on the premises.
The exhibition sees the artist responding to the unique spatial constraints of a gallery space that has been designed and built in the former shop-front space of Ron Henocq’s studio. The works gathered suggest a shifting relationship between weight and weightlessness akin to moving in water.
Austen has revisited a group of drawings completed decades ago and mislaid in time. A series of watercolours have been produced in remembrance of the absent works; figures appear grounded in invisible landscapes and oblique narratives are rendered through their relationships. Austen likens the figures to “naked ghosts” – survivors or victims of some unknown tragedy.
Set alongside these, a new sculptural work floats in the space. The works dissolve into one another and into the space.
A specially commissioned text by writer Hisham Matar will accompany the exhibition.
In the coming months, Matt’s Gallery will present a rapid succession of short exhibitions and events at 92 Webster Road. The Gallery’s practice of working with artists of different generations will continue with an open ended, vibrant and responsive programme of artists presentations and guest-curated shows. This domestic space, including a garden, marks a shift away from the warehouse spaces Matt’s Gallery has worked in to date, while maintaining its close connection with the artists’ studio as a site of production and display. The gallery and office have been designed by Director Robin Klassnik’s son, architect Tomas Klassnik of the architectural practice The Klassnik Corporation.
The Drowned marks the first instalment of this programme and will be open for one month. It will be followed by an exhibition of paintings by Elizabeth Magill running February 23 to March 4 2018, after which the gallery will present an ongoing series of ten-day shows.
The Drowned is commissioned by Matt’s Gallery, and generously supported by Arts Council England.